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For 99 years, Portland firefighters have been delivering holiday toys to families in need
Today, the folks from Toy N Joy Makers released their stats from the 2013 season. The organization, started within Portland Fire & Rescue and fueled by volunteers and firefighters, collects and distributes toys to Portland families in need. Started in 2014 and sparked when one firefighter fixed an old wagon for a neighborhood boy, the program is now a local institution counted on by countless families and organizations. For the 2013 season, Toy N Joy gave gifts to 10,256 children. Almost 50,000 toys were distributed, with 91 businesses and organizations helping by hosting and filling toy collection boxes.
Next year the program celebrates its 100th year of giving: it will be the best year yet!
Wishing the very best to you and yours...
On the eve of this holiday, I want to wish you and yours the very best. Tomorrow, as with every day, each of our 30 stations will be fully staffed around the clock to respond when the community calls. It is truly an honor to serve the city of Portland and help others.
A special thanks to the men and women of Portland Fire & Rescue who remain on duty so others can be home celebrating with their families.
Stay safe out there and happy holidays,
ERIN A. JANSSENS, Chief
Portland Fire & Rescue
New boathouse part of robust marine emergency response plan
Portland Fire & Rescue announces that the city's new floating boathouse was delivered yesterday to its home on the Willamette River across from the Eastbank Esplanade. The boathouse, designed to house two emergency response watercraft, will be an essential part of the marine emergency demands that will be met by the rebuilt Fire Station 21, currently under construction on the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge.
With help from the 2008 Port Security grant through FEMA, PF&R was successful in securing a grant to fund $800,000 of the $1.6 million boathouse, constructed by Oregon Iron Works. The remainder of funds used were from the $72 million general obligation bond that Portland voters passed in 2010.
"This boathouse is a critical part of a dual land-marine based modern fire & rescue station designed to withstand an earthquake and provide a quick response to both land and ever-increasing marine emergencies. Should a major earthquake hit our area, this station and boathouse will be an integral part of our city's emergency response," said Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Erin Janssens.
Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman noted: "Portlanders voted for this boathouse to be built via the bond process; I'm pleased to see it delivered and am anxious to put it to work responding to emergencies. I'd also like to thank PF&R for their aggressive pursuit of grants and our federal partners for investing in our city"
PF&R responds to emergency incidents along 149 miles of navigable waterways of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Fire Station 21 returned to active service in 2009, primarily to address the ever-increasing marine emergency service demands on the Willamette River in the downtown core area requiring either quick rescue boat response or a boat with high pumping capacity. Fire Station 21, built in 1960, sits on highly liquefiable soils making it extremely vulnerable to a seismic event. Fire Stations must be designed to remain in operation after a major earthquake or other natural disaster.
At this time, Station 21 is currently under construction. The crew for the station continues to provide both land and marine based operations from a temporary facility adjacent to the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, and also operates a rescue boat, the Eldon Trinity, located at the dock just North of the bridge. In 2014, PF&R will be receiving two new fire boats, one of which will be moored and respond from this location, enabling Station 21's crew to perform both water rescues with the Eldon Trinity and fire protection along the river with the new fire boat.
Fire safety, photos, face painting and holiday fun was in large supply
Thanks to everyone who came out to our annual Santa Safety Saturday at the Historic Belmont Firehouse. Here are some scenes from the day...
Portland Fire & Rescue learned that its application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a grant to fund 26 firefighter positions for two years was approved. Thanks to this funding from the federal government, $4,554,394 from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant program (SAFER) will go toward keeping Portland’s emergency response capabilities at its current levels.
Today, Portland Fire & Rescue learned that its application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a grant to fund 26 firefighter positions for two years was approved. Thanks to this funding from the federal government, $4,554,394 from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant program (SAFER) will go toward keeping Portland’s emergency response capabilities at its current levels.
Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Erin Janssens is extremely pleased that FEMA recognized how vital our city’s strategically located stations and firefighter staffing levels are to keeping Portland safe. “This grant is very important, not only for the firefighters and their families who were directly impacted by potential layoffs, but to everyone who lives, works, or visits Portland and relies on the dynamic fire & rescue services PF&R provides. Because of this past tough budget season, the federal government has stepped forward to support our city’s safety response system for two years until our City government finds a local support source. We are grateful.”
The priority of the SAFER grant is to rehire laid-off firefighters. Due to the City of Portland’s weak economic situation during the last budget cycle and its projected five-year financial forecasts, 26 firefighter positions were eliminated from PF&R’s budget. While waiting for the outcome of the grant, PF&R used bridge funding until October 1st. After that, PF&R has been financially vigilant by carrying limited savings from vacancies to cover these 26 positions and maintain service levels as long as fiscally possible. If the award had not been granted, absent any other funding sources PF&R would have been forced to close two fire & rescue stations. The grant requires that both SAFER-funded positions, as well as the on-duty staffing level that existed at the time of the award, be maintained for the SAFER grant period.
"It is great to see the Federal Emergency Management Agency recognize the vital role Portland's firefighters play in our community's safety by providing us this bridge funding over the next two years to keep all our fire stations open and operating," Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman noted. "I will make certain City Council follows through on its commitment to reestablish this funding from local sources at the end of the grant and thank all our firefighters for their patience as this process unfolded and for the important work they do every day."
Alan Ferschweiler, President of Portland Firefighters’ Association, commented on the news of the grant: "We are pleased our collaboration with the Chief, City Commissioners and the Mayor on such a critical grant to protect our communities paid off. Not only is the grant going to save 26 fire positions, it will help keep our front firefighters on the job protecting the communities they serve every day. We look forward working with Chief Janssens, Mayor Hales and City officials to find permanent funding in two years to keep our firefighters on the job and protecting our communities from fire dangers."
Chief Janssens said that the success of this application rests with the support of City Council and the hard work of PF&R staff who wrote this very complicated grant application and shepherded its progress through contingencies such as the federal government furloughs. “I also want to thank Portland’s firefighters who remained focused on the important work of keeping Portland safe even though jobs and stations were at stake. Additionally, we are appreciative for assistance from FEMA and our entire congressional delegation that signed off on our application.”
From Senator Ron Wyden: “Portland Fire & Rescue is responsible for the safety of more than 600,000 Portland residents and 65,000 businesses. These much-needed funds will ensure that fire fighters are ready to respond when called upon and that ongoing budget challenges will not diminish Portland Fire and Rescue’s ability to provide the same high-level protection for the entire community.”
From Senator Jeff Merkley: “This is great news for Portland Fire & Rescue. Now, 26 firefighters will be able to keep their jobs and two fire stations will remain open because of this funding. This is crucial funding to keep our firefighters safe and create better response times for the entire community.”
From Congressman Blumenauer: “With many city and county budget’s still digging out from the recession, the SAFER Grant program is critical to keep firefighters on the job and in our communities. I am very pleased that Portland Fire & Rescue, which provides protection for over 600,000 residents and over 65,000 businesses, was able to secure this grant.”
From Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici: “Congratulations to the City of Portland for receiving a SAFER Grant award from FEMA. Because of local budget constraints, many of our communities are struggling to provide the basic services that keep people safe. This grant will allow the city to rehire 26 full-time firefighters and maintain two fire stations in North and East Portland. Portland Fire & Rescue is essential to the safety and well-being of residents and the local infrastructure we depend on, and they deserve our full support.”